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Fury over DA councillor’s ’bobianisme’ comment

Mar 23, 2021

Cape Town - A DA councillor in George is in hot water for telling an opposition political party member “bobianisme suits jou (you)” on social media.

Councillor Brendan Adams made the comments in referencing Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners (PBI) executive member, Enrico Stalmeester.

While the PBI has since instructed their lawyers to investigate alleged hate speech and crimen injuria against the councillor, Adams stood by his comment, saying the word had no racial connotation.

The PBI wants “to ascertain whether the term equates Stalmeester's intellect or human conduct to that of a baboon”.

Stalmeester said yesterday that they had been engaged in a Facebook debate about service delivery issues when Adams made the comment.

Tagging Stalmeester, Adams wrote: “Bobianisme suits jou neef, j is soos hul team captain soos x aanpassingsklas kaptein is n (another facebook user) skryf net name vir juff (sic).”

“In terms of my understanding this word refers to the nature of a baboon suiting me as a human being,” Stalmeester said.

“I take it as an insult and support my party to pursue this matter to the Equality Court. As a councillor he should have known much better how to address people. This is a low level of communication from a DA politician. I feel very bad and hurt by the statement of the Khoi Chief and DA councillor. I am still in shock since councillor Adams and I have come a long way. I never expected that from him,” he said.

Adams said: “The word bobianisme is an old Afrikaans word that means the same as bobiaanstreke which means ‘you are full of tricks’. It is not derogatory and has no racial connection. They (PBI) were busy with political tricks hence me using the word,” he said.

Adams said the use of the word wasn’t hate speech.

“The word bobiaanstreke in English means monkey tricks and has nothing to do with hate speech. It's sad that when they describe me, a DA member as a dom aap (dumb ape), they don't see that as derogatory.”

PBI leader Virgil Gericke said that as Afrikaans-speaking people, they perceived the word to have a direct translation to the nature of a baboon.

“Name-calling of other people is a despicable act and takes us back to apartheid South Africa. Whether this word has meaning in English or Afrikaans, is immaterial. Even he himself has failed on numerous social media platforms to give the definition of this word. If he doesn't know the meaning of the word, why is he still defending it and, by so doing, hurting the dignity and integrity of other people?” Gericke said.

He said they would write to the George Municipality Speaker to investigate a possible breach of the code of conduct for councillors.

DA constituency head in George, Geordin Hill-Lewis, said Adams had assured him the word had no racial connotation.

“I’m no expert in Afrikaans but Stamhoof Adams assured me this word has no racial connotation,” he said.

The municipality said they were not aware of the incident yesterday, and referred qu

estions to the DA.

SACP district secretary Langa Langa called on the PBI to approach the Equality Court for a fair hearing on the matter.

“As for any credible and objective investigations as called for by the PBI on the Speaker, I know that nothing credible will ever come out of the DA Speaker,” he said.

South African Human Rights Commission commissioner Chris Nissen said he would raise the matter with the commission.

“It is very important that politicians refrain from becoming petty and calling each other names. Calling people names is unacceptable, especially at a human rights time when we speak of social cohesion,” he said.

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Source: Cape Times

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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